Letters to June, #3

Dear June,

Do you people watch? We stopped at this red light tonight. I was already peering out the window when this car also came to a stop next to us in the other lane. I don’t know if it was the dim yellow tint of the street lamp, but the driver of the car looked cute. I kept staring and I kinda had a feeling like he knew I was staring at him. I didn’t even have a chance to smile before the light turned green.

I’m not actually one to stare at people. I mean sure I discreetly stare sometimes because sometimes you just can’t help it. But I’m not one to keep staring even when it’s become noticeable. But tonight I did. And it reminded me of what a professor told my class. He encouraged us to hold our gaze and talk directly to a person in the class throughout the class during our presentations even for a moment. He said that helps keep the audience engaged and boosts your confidence when you look at people in the eyes while speaking.

Then I remembered all the times I listened and watched him during lectures. How comfortable it was for him to talk to us, look at us, and speak directly to us. He’d walk across the front of the room and talk with ease. And I also remember averting my gaze whenever he so much as glance in my direction. I would look at the projector or my computer screen or even his shoes, anywhere else besides his face. As much as I wanted him to know I was paying attention (I really was and I’m sure he knew though), I just couldn’t have him look at me while I was looking at him. Just the thought of what my face looked like to him made me feel weird. Did I have to smile? Did I have to suddenly become a bobble head?

Or maybe it’s a cultural thing. In the Asian culture, it’s usually (depending) disrespectful to look at your elders in the eyes when speaking to them. And that’s true in my household. I have a difficult time looking at my parents when we’re having a conversation or when I’m having a conversation with anyone. I want the other person to know I’m listening and is invested in what is being said, but it’s a challenge for me and I think that’s mainly because how I was raised. And it’s not necessarily a bad thing, it just means I need to put more effort and work on it. And yes June, I am fully aware that that is easier said than done.

I’ve seen a bunch of TedTalks and other YouTube videos and read articles on how to talk to people and ways to boost your confidence. I know what to do, but when I try to do it it feels awkward and unnatural. And yes I’ve heard of the phrase “fake it until you make it” and I admit it does help a bit. Then then my brain starts working and I start to think and then I feel like everything jumbles up. Teach me your ways June. You are confident and carefree. I wish I could be more like you.

I took a personality test, like the ones online, and my results was that I am an INFP. You know June, I used to more confident and outgoing, believe it or not. When I was younger and in middle school. I know for some people, middle schools years are something they don’t want to relive, but for me it was a good time. I mean, I don’t want to relive it. I just want to have the confidence, outgoingness, the sureness of who I was and wanted to be like I had back then. It’s really unfortunate that I had to lose that as I grew up. But things can’t always stay the same huh June. I feel like you understand that better than most.

I’m sorry if my letter has brought your mood down. I really hope you’ve had a good day. I’ll write to you soon.

 

Love and all the good things,

Lar

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